Welcome to Smart Casual. We are a collaboration of academics from five Australian law schools producing a suite of professional development modules for sessional teachers of law.
Half of all teaching in Australian higher education is provided by sessional staff, so the quality of sessional teaching is critical to student learning, retention and progress. However, national research suggests that support and training for sessional teachers remains inadequate.
In law, this problem is compounded by the need for staff to teach discipline-specific skills and content to students destined for a socially-bounded profession. Yet sessional law teachers are often time-poor full-time practitioners weakly connected to the tertiary sector. The distinct nature of these sessional staff and the discipline-specific learning outcomes required in law demand discipline-specific sessional staff training.
Smart Casual addresses this national need by identifying and responding to the professional development requirements of sessional staff in law. In consultation with a national expert panel, we are designing, trialling and evaluating a suite of professional development modules as resources which will be used nationally across the diversity of Australian law schools. The modules integrate strategic themes of crucial importance to the contemporary law curriculum.
Three interactive, self-directed professional development modules have already been created and are freely available here. An additional six modules are currently being developed. Each of the modules includes short videos of sessional teachers discussing their work.
The Smart Casual project is funded by a grant from the Australian Government Office for Learning & Teaching. For information on the funding of the project click here to see the Office for Learning & Teaching page.